Photograph of a house with missing plumbing ventsDripping Water Noise Diagnosis
Find & cure dripping water noises heard in or around buildings
     

  • DRIPPING WATER SOUND SOURCES - CONTENTS: Building & house dripping water noises, sources of dripping noises: lists of drip drop sound causes, cures, and detection methods for dripping water sounds in buildings.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about diagnosing the source and finding the cure for noises or sounds in or around buildings and their systems
  • REFERENCES

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Building dripping water noise troubleshooting: causes & cures.

These articles discuss the sources of dripping sounds heard in or around buildings.

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Dripping Water Sounds in buildings, How to Track Down

Photograph of A/C condensate damage to a furnace heat exchanger (maybe)Dripping Sounds in or on buildings can come from a variety of sources but almost always involve water. See

  • Air conditioner condensate handling system leaks can produce dripping sounds heard at the air handler, anywhere along condensate piping systems, at a plumbing vent fed by a condensate drain line (bad practice), or anywhere that condensate has leaked into a building cavity.

    In our photo (left) condensate dripped into the air handler causing rust damage.
    See CONDENSATE LEAKS
  • ATTIC CONDENSATION CAUSE & CURE and Ice Dam Leaks - Detection and Correcting Venting and Condensation Problems in buildings - melting ice inside of an attic or outside on the building eaves can produce dripping sounds as well as water damage
  • Chimney leaks can produce a dripping sound heard indoors. Leaks at or around a chimney cap or crown may drip down a vertical flue, slapping on a fireplace damper or on an elbow in a metal chimney or flue vent connector.

    Watch out: rust-damaged metal chimneys or flue vent connectors may release dangerous combustion gases into the building. And water dripping down chimneys can also damage heating appliances connected to the leaky flue.
  • Drain piping noises from clogged or partly clogged drains such as gurgling or bubbling drain sounds but we have on occasion also traced a dripping sound to building drains, particularly when there is a slow plumbing supply leak (such as a running toilet) that drips water down a vertical drain section. The noise of droplets hitting the drain elbow or horizontal pipe at the bottom of the vertical run can drive some folks crazy.
Photograph of Leaking, Dripping water at a faucet (C) Daniel Friedman
  • Drips at plumbing fixtures may make an obvious drip or splash sound. But dripping water can be tricky to track down. Don't forget to consider
    • A small water supply leak inside of a building cavity can produce a noise that is hard to track down. Supply pipe leaks may be continuous (and thus are eventually discovered by water stains or mold) or intermittent, such as a leak around a tub or shower control that drips into the wall cavity only when the valve is turned "on".

      These leaks may drip into a drain (discussed above) or into a building ceiling, wall, or even floor cavity.

      Watch out when making temporary faucet drip leak repairs. In Vineland New Jersey a family acquaintance was sent downstairs by his wife who wanted him to investigate a "burglar noise" she heard in the kitchen.

      There was no home invader but the kitchen faucet was dripping. Omitting embarrassing details we note that the homeowner, in his usual night-time sleeping outfit (nothing) kneeled at the kitchen sink to turn off water to the nighttime annoyance. His pose was just too tempting to the family cat who swiped and clawed a tender area on the midnight plumbing drip leak repairman.

      Screaming in pain our acquaintance leapt upwards, smacked his head on the sink drain, cut his scalp, and fell unconscious half in and half out of the sink cabinet. Mrs. homeowner, hearing the shout, called the Vineland police who on entry found an embarrassed owner bleeding from his scalp and from another part, and the cat sitting smugly by the fireplace.
    • A drain piping leak inside of a building cavity can also produce a noise that is hard to track down.

      But a drain drip noise should not be present when no fixtures have water running into them. But don't forget that a quietly running toilet can also produce a drip or other plumbing problems downstream from the toilet in the building drain piping.

PLUMBING DRAIN NOISE DIAGNOSIS - watch for dripping fixtures and piping, including plumbing drips inside wall cavities.

Often we can correlate dripping noises to specific fixtures or faucets (drips occur only when water is running), or to specific fixture drains (dripping noises from a leaky drain line occur only when the drain is carrying water).

Ice dams (C) Daniel Friedman

  • Roof drainage system dripping sounds: while most people have no trouble recognizing the source of dripping sounds from melting snow or ice on building roofs or other exterior surfaces, occasionally you may need to track down dripping sounds heard indoors but originating in the gutter and downspout system for the building.

    A mostly-clogged roof gutter, when filled with water or melting snow and ice, may drip audibly at the end-drop connection to the downspout. Water droplets falling in the vertical downspout section make a satisfying SPLAT sound when landing at the elbow usually found at the downspout's lower end.

 

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